Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day - banner and sign

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  We celebrated yesterday with a pig roast and lots of friends.  I made a few signs to help celebrate using my Cricut.  I used the Country Life cartridge and the banner feature, which I love by the way, to make the banner and using the extra cutouts from that I made the simple sign above.  

Hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baby Z's first knit

Baby Z should be arriving in just a few months!  I thought I better get going on one of the million projects I'd like to finish before she gets here.  I started with a simple knitted matching hat and booties.  The booties are from Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook.  They say they are one hour booties and they really are one hour booties.  They are part shoe part sock and will be great in the cold months.  I love how they have a cute crocheted strap over the top with a button on the side:

The hat is a pattern from Fiber Fiend which I found off of Ravelry.  It's rib so even though it should fit her the first winter she's here I might be able to get away with dressing her in it a year later because it stretches quiet a bit.  

I can't seem to remember where I got this yarn although I know it was called something Angel Hair.  It's a super soft mix of wool and synthetic.  It was probably the last yarn that I bought from a big box craft store as I've been trying not to buy or use synthetic since I took my spinning class.  I usually find that synthetic yarns are itchier and coarser then wool, contrary to popular belief,  but this yarn is actually like knitting with cotton candy so I don't mind.  

There will be more projects to come but I'm pleased with her first knitted item, what can say, she's already spoiled!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spinach recipe roundup

What happens when you don't pick spinach for almost two weeks?  You end up with spinach coming out of your ears!  I picked piles and piles of it this past week and decided to cook most of it down for freezing.  We use frozen spinach a lot in our house and during winter this will sure be handy.  To freeze spinach simply wash it, put it in boiling water for 2 minutes, transfer to ice water until cool and then let drain.  Place in a freezer bag and freeze.

I really love spinach but now that we have so much I seem to be blanking with what to make with it.  That's why I love bloggers. Of course there are always salads but here are some other fabulous ways to use spinach:

 Delicious.  I can't wait to try some of these out.  Anyone else have any good spinach recipes to suggest?

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Corny Birthday Card

    Ha!  I love this card!  It is simple but fun.  

    Cricut Machine or access to one such as in a scrapbooking store
    Cartridge - Just Because Cards
    Card stock paper [yellow, light green and dark green]
    Craft glue
    Blank cards with envelopes (or make your own with cardstock)
    Alphabet stamps
    Stamp ink


    Using your Cricut machine and the Just Because Cartridge cut one layer 2 corn that is 11" in your light green cardstock.  Next, cut out one layer 3 corn-s that is 11" in your dark green.  To make the corn cut out one layer 1 corn-s that is 11" in your yellow cardstock.  Glue these together to make your corn stock.  I used bought blank cardstock that is just brown kraft that worked well for this card but you can also make your own card out of cardstock.  My card was approximately 5"x7".  For the inside I cut out some of the light green card stock that was a little bit smaller then my card and glued this to the inside.   Using the Cricut, cut out one 7" word corn in yellow.  Arrange this on the light green background and glue it.  With your alphabet stamps and ink stamp out "This card might be" and "but we just wanted to say, Happy Birthday" between your glued, Corny.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    How to: Make a bluebird feeder


    We had a lovely bluebird family nest near our garden last month and I was so excited to hear their little babies start to chirp for the first time a few weeks ago.  Unfortunately, the bird house was ripped down by a raccoon and the little blue birds didn't make it.  I want to encourage more blue birds to come nest here though once we get a proper house up so we decided to make a blue bird feeder.  Here's how we did it.


    4 1"x1" pieces of wood that are 7" long
    1 8"x8" piece of plywood
    2 pieces of wire 25" each
    1 piece of wire 15" long
    4 eye hooks
    8 Small nails


    Arrange your 4 1"x1" pieces of wood on the edges of your plywood and using a hammer and nails, attach the two together from the bottom like so:

    Next, add the 4 eye hooks to the corners of the feeder:

    Bending your 25" pieces of wire in half, twist them on the eye hooks in opposite corners, crisscrossing them at the top center:

    Lastly, with your 15" piece wire fold this in half through the top center of the other wires and twist it together.  This will make a hook so you can hang your new feeder:

    I filled our new platform feeder with blue bird suet balls which I found at our local Tractor Supply Store and dried meal worms which I found at Lowes.  So far it has attracted bluebirds and cardinals!

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Strawberry picking & recipe roundup

    This past week we went to a local farm, The Fruit & Berry Patch, to pick this seasons first harvest:  strawberries!  I've been craving strawberries lately so on a nice day with great weather it seemed like the perfect thing to do.  The farm was littered with little red berries all over and it was so hard not to just sit there and eat them.

    We left with almost 52 lbs of strawberries!  Here is what I made with some of our bounty this year:

    Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam and canned Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling via Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving:

    Strawberry fruit roll ups via Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects:

    Strawberry Icebox Pie via Martha Stewart's New Pies and Tarts: 150 Recipes for Old-Fashioned and Modern Favorites:

    I also have a batch of strawberry vinegar aging in the basement that should be ready in about four weeks to can.  I made this two years and it has become a household favorite.  All I do is mix some of the vinegar with sour cream and ta-da, instant strawberry salad dressing!  I dried about three cups of strawberries for future use in granola as well.  With the rest I just froze them for use in smoothies, more jam, and popsicles.  Even our chickens enjoyed some strawberries:

    If you'd like to find a place in your area to pick strawberries from, check out Pick Your Own.  It's our go to for finding local pick-your-own farms.  I can't wait to go back for the next season of fruit, perhaps blueberries, raspberries or peaches.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    How to: Make a Niddy Noddy

    Since getting my new spinning wheel I've wanted to make a niddy noddy.  You can pick up a niddy noddy up for around $20.00 but I thought if you can make one for less why not.  This is a very basic niddy noddy that Lewie helped me make.


    Large 1/2" wooden dowel
    Hand saw or table saw
    Two wood screws


    1. Cut your wooden dowel into three pieces: two 12" pieces and one 17" piece

    2. Using your screws and drill, attach the 12" pieces to the ends of the 17" piece in opposite directions.
    3. That's it!  You can then sand down the edges if you need to and or stain it.

    Because the dowel is 1/2" in width the whole niddy noddy will measure 18" which is half a yard so one time around with yarn will measure 1 yard.

    Now that I have a niddy noddy I can make skeins with the yarn I've been spinning.  I put the first batch on and measured it last week:  about 66 yards total.  I need over 300 yards for the pattern I want to knit!  I better get spinning!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Rebirth after the storm

    What does this pretty purple flower make?

    Why, handfuls of pretty yellow snap peas!

    We are actually seeing signs of rebirth less then a week after our horrible storms.  The tomatoes even popped back up and we have a new leaf on the banana plant we had outside that got destroyed:

    Our pineapple on the other hand has seen better days:

    And I bought potted herbs this past weekend because it seems that all my seeds were washed away by the several days of rain we got and we really needed some vegetation where they are to prevent erosion.  All in all though it's not as bad as I thought it was.  We will have to replant spinach and lettuce but most of our tomatoes are doing well and we even have a few flowers on them and a few peppers.  Hopefully we won't see a storm like that again for a long time, if ever.  Picking up from it has been slow, but seeing our garden bounce back gives me hope.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Mother's Day - Pitcher of Flowers card

    Looking for a simple but sweet Mother's Day card to make?  This is it.  I just love how it came out!  Here's how -

    Cricut Machine or access to one such as in a scrapbooking store
    Cartridge - Country Life
    Plenty of card stock paper [coordinating cream, green blue, purple and pink]
    Craft glue
    Blank cards with envelopes (or make your own with cardstock)
    Mini and regular size brads that coordinate with cardstock colors
    Sticker foam


    Using your Cricut machine and the cartridge Country Life (don't you love this cartridge? I do!), cut out one 4" pitcher in green cardstock.  Next, cut out one 4" pitchr-s in cream.  Next, cut out one 4" layer1 pitcher in pink cardstock.  Then cut out one 4" layer1 pitchr-s in blue.  Lastly, cut out one 4" layer2 pitcher in purple cardstock.  You should have pieces that look like this:

    Glue your pitcher together and allow it to dry with something heavy on it so it doesn't curl.  After it is dried, apply a small piece of sticker foam to the back of it and apply that to the front of the card.  I used the foam because I love how the foam makes the pitcher pop from the card.  Around the pitcher place several brads in different shapes.  That's it! 

    Check out last years Mother's Day card here.